#ColorOurCollections, Day 4

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It’s the fourth day of #ColorOurCollections, a week-long special collections coloring fest we’ve organized on social media. We are astonished by the week’s popularity: more than 160 organizations are participating (See our growing list).

Every day on our blog, we will feature #ColorOurCollections coloring sheets from our library, along with content from participants worldwide. You can also download our full #ColorOurCollections coloring book.

Today’s coloring sheets come from Dutch anatomist Govard Bidloo and English horticulturist Elizabeth Blackwell.

The atlas of Bidloo (1649-1713), published in 1685, attempted to show the body in a quite different way from his predecessor, Andreas Vesalius. The skeleton in this image is depicted climbing out of his open grave, hourglass in hand and silky shroud tossed recklessly aside. Bidloo’s talented artist Gerard de Lairesse studied with Rembrandt but embraced a more neoclassical tone than his teacher.

Skeleton in Bidloo's Anatomia hvmani corporis..., 1685.

Skeleton in Bidloo’s Anatomia hvmani corporis…, 1685. Click to download a PDF of the coloring page.

Elizabeth Blackwell was a triple-threat: the author, artist and engraver published her Curious Herbal in 1739, which quickly became an invaluable resource for apothecaries and doctors well beyond the 18th century. Blackwell undertook the publication of the book to raise funds to release her husband from debtor’s prison. During visits at Highgate Prison where he was installed, he supplied the names of the book’s plants in Greek and Latin. Many copies of the book were hand-colored by Blackwell herself. This one is begging to be hand-colored by you!

Orange tree in Blackwell's A Curious Herbal, 1739.

Orange tree in Blackwell’s A Curious Herbal, 1739. Click to download a PDF of the coloring page.

Today, we’d like to feature the work of the colorers! There are a tremendous number of colored images to choose from—take a look at our Pinterest board for more. (We also have a board of images from participating institutions just waiting to be colored.)

If Twitter and Instagram are any indication, some of the most popular pages to color come from the Smithsonian Libraries coloring book, tied to its new exhibit “Color in a New Light.”

We’ve seen a number of takes on J. Romilly Allen’s Celtic art in pagan and Christian times (page 169):

#colorourcollections

A post shared by Benicia Library (@benicialibrary) on

And we love this painted frontispiece from Plastik; Sinfonie des Lebens by Oswald Herzog (1921).

Pintando en acuarela // painting in watercolor today #colorourcollections #watercolor

A post shared by Gigliola Miori Della Rosa (@missdellarosa) on

The Chemical Heritage Foundation’s vintage ad for DDT was too enticing for Twitter user Miss N. Thrope to pass up:

Nicole Kearney turned Biodiversity Heritage Library Australia’s image of a bearded dragon into a work of art:

The National Library of Medicine went astronomical for its first #ColorOurCollections contribution. Twitter user Michelle Ebere was up to the challenge:

Instagram user @artofstriving took her inspiration from an image from Walter de la Mare’s Down-adown-derry: A Book of Fairy Poems with illustrations by Dorothy P. Lathrop (1922), shared in the University of Missouri Libraries’ coloring book.

Keep the coloring coming! And stay tuned: tomorrow, our final #ColorOurCollections post will include a list of all of the coloring books created and shared this week.

Brains, Brawn, & Beauty: Andreas Vesalius and the Art of Anatomy

By Rebecca Pou, Archivist, and Johanna Goldberg, Information Services Librarian

For our October 18 festival, Art, Anatomy, and the Body: Vesalius 500, we exhibited items from the library’s collections showing the history of anatomical illustration. You can still visit the New York Academy of Medicine to view the exhibit in person on the ground floor. If you can’t make it, we offer a digital version below.

The exhibit on display at the new York Academy of Medicine.

The exhibit on display at the New York Academy of Medicine.

In 1543, Andreas Vesalius was a 28-year-old professor of surgery and anatomy at the University of Padua, one of Europe’s best known medical schools. That year, he published his most famous work, De humani corporis fabrica, translated as On the Fabric of the Human Body. Vesalius dedicated the work to Charles V; he subsequently received the appointment of physician to the imperial family.

Working from three images from the Fabrica—a skeleton, a figure of muscles, and an illustration of the brain—this exhibit shows the many ways Vesalius’ work built on past anatomists, and exerted its influence well into the future.

Images from great works in our collection, from Magnus Hundt’s 1501 Antropologium to Dominici Santorini’s 1775 Anatomici summi septemdecim tabulae, show the evolution of artistic style and scientific understanding. Some show examples of “borrowing” Vesalius’ images and placing them in new contexts.

Click an image to view the gallery.